The beaches around St. Augustine, FL

Jan 7th, 2013, 08:47 AM
  #1  
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The beaches around St. Augustine, FL

Hello everyone! So I'm busy trying to plan our family vacation for this upcoming Spring. The idea is to travel in late April or early May...before school lets out and while the beaches are, hopefully, less crowded. We would have an entire week.

I'm going to come right out and say that my husband and I are not "beachy" people. However, as we are now proud parents to two rambunctious and active three-year-old girls and it just makes sense to take a more laid-back approach to traveling, at least until they are a bit older and easier to manage, and I now get why so many parents take beach vacations every year. We reside in Charlotte, NC and went to the Outer Banks last year and it worked out great.

I know that early Spring isn't ideal beach weather and we are okay with that. If we can swim, it will be an added bonus. I am looking for laid-back beach towns that aren't super-touristy (no Myrtle Beach-types for us!) and I'm trying to figure out if the beaches around St. Augustine fit what we are looking for. When trying to research I find that most of the Florida websites seem to almost ignore this area in favor of the Gulf Coast or beaches further south. I imagine renting bikes and biking to town for casual lunches and dinners, visiting some historic sites (St. Augustine itself appeals to us for that reason) and checking out some state parks. I'm thinking the girls would love the Zoo in Jacksonville.

I prefer to rent a house but it seems as though this is mostly condo territory. I found some nice ones near Flagler Beach. Is this a nice town? Any locations I should be looking into or avoiding?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks!
Tracy
tcreath is offline  
Jan 7th, 2013, 12:35 PM
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A major find for us two years ago was Anastasia State Park, in St. Augustine. It is glorious, and was empty in Early February. We stayed nearby just south on Route A1A I think it was, while visiting a friend who had winter job as a ranger at the park.

We dined in St. Augustine, which is a very interesting historic town, a bit touristy, but worth checking out. The park is a stunning place with superlative beach.
taconictraveler is offline  
Jan 7th, 2013, 12:54 PM
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tracy, for years I went to a condo at Anastasia and I loved it. Quiet. Peaceful. Wide sand beach. Really liked the condo too. It would be perfect for your family. Fast forward years later and one of my reps was relocating and could live anywhere in north Florida. She chose the exact same condo complex (her husband was retired so they kept their home in S. Fl). I'll send you a link. There's no "town" but on nights we weren't cooking we'd go into St. Augustine or even down to Daytona Beach. Great place.
starrs is offline  
Jan 7th, 2013, 12:58 PM
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http://www.anastasiacondos.com/

In the original building the units are set back so all the units have some sort of view. All of the units have wall to wall, floor to ceiling windows with sliders to a small patio. In the 2br units, the 2nd bedroom is in the back of the unit, near the entrance door. There is an elevator and a small pool. Loved the place.
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Jan 7th, 2013, 01:02 PM
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"I imagine renting bikes and biking to town for casual lunches and dinners, visiting some historic sites"

Jekyll Island would be perfect for that.
starrs is offline  
Jan 7th, 2013, 01:16 PM
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Thank you both for your replies! I'll definitely have to check out Anastasia State Park.

Jo (starrs), thank you for the link! And interesting you brought up Jekyll Island because we considering the Georgia coast as well. I almost posted a different question, asking for opinions as to whether to go to the Georgia Coast or northern Florida. I was kind of eying St. Simons, but I hadn't gotten too far into my research yet. My one concern with Georgia is that maybe the area is too sleepy? Is there enough to do to keep us entertained for a week? Granted the girls go down at 7:30 every night so it's not like we need any kind of nightlife. I would be interested in taking the ferries to some of the smaller uninhabited islands. If you don't mind, would you mind giving me a comparison between the two areas?

Decisions decisions!
Tracy
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Jan 7th, 2013, 01:38 PM
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See, I like "sleepiness"

Jekyll is perfect for biking around the island.

But it sounds like this is a better fit for what you are looking for - http://www.pontevedra.com/

My SIL and her family have been going for years (grandparents take the two daughters and the grandkids). My best friend now goes with her sons and granddaughters. There's more going on there. I think that's more like what you are looking for. My BF s it there - and previous visits were to St. George Island on the gulf. They always rented a private house with pool. They were very happy with a house at PV and sharing the resort pool.
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Jan 7th, 2013, 01:56 PM
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Jo, I like sleepiness too...just a little concerned about staying for an entire week. Most of the vacation rentals seem to come with one week minimums. Ideally we would try to spend 3 nights in Georgia and then 4 nights in northern Florida but the girls and hotel rooms don't really work together...for us or our poor neighbors trying to sleep next door! So a rental makes more sense. I'm on the Jekyll Island website right now trying to read more about it.

Ponte Vedra looks lovely! Is it only the resort? I don't mind staying on a resort necessarily but I definitely want to be able to eat and explore in nice small towns away from the resort.

Sorry if I'm being annoying! I'm not 100% sure what I'm looking for myself. Actually I am...I want the atmosphere of the Outer Banks (we stayed in Duck) but without having to go back to the Outer Banks!
tcreath is offline  
Jan 12th, 2013, 05:50 AM
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"I am looking for laid-back beach towns that aren't super-touristy (no Myrtle Beach-types for us!) and I'm trying to figure out if the beaches around St. Augustine fit what we are looking for."

In addition to Anastasia State Park, let me add Crescent Beach. You can see the exact location here: http://beacherslodge.com/images/cont...taugustine.pdf

It is family-friendly and features soft white sand and very small "crowds". It is definitely off the tourist trail. We have owned a condo here for 22+ years and find that it is the perfect getaway. St. Augustine is just 15-20 minutes north. Here are some links:

http://www.staugustine.com/visit/
http://www.visitflorida.com/St_Augustine
http://www.getaway4florida.com/


"I found some nice ones near Flagler Beach. Is this a nice town?"

Not nearly as nice as the St. Augustine area beaches.

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Vic's travels: http://my.flightmemory.com/vogilvie
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Jan 13th, 2013, 02:40 PM
  #10  
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Vic, thank you for your reply! I have a few Crescent Beach condos (and a few Anastasia ones) bookmarked so I'm happy to know it's a nice area. Still trying to narrow down which one to stay. I'm really excited!

Tracy
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Jan 13th, 2013, 03:38 PM
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I live in the area, have been to all above mentioned beaches, and have two small children (4 and 6). My first choice would be Amelia Island, FL. Second choice would be St. Augustine. I would not choose Jekyll.
GeorgiaGal is offline  
Jan 13th, 2013, 03:43 PM
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Another Georgia mom here- I agree with Georgia Gal. Amelia would be my first choice. St. Augustine if I wanted more options for non-beach activities. No to Jekyll. Ponte Vedra is a lovely resort.
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Jan 19th, 2013, 10:23 AM
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Thank you all again!

I think Amelia Island looks lovely but we are definitely interested in non-beach activities as well (I just can't sit on a beach all day, every day...I would go nuts!) which is why I'm leaning towards St. Augustine.

With that being said, I think we've narrowed it down to condos in either St. Augustine/Crescent Beach or the Hammock Resort/Cinnamon Beach condos in Palm Coast. For those who have been in this area, can you give me your opinion as to which area you prefer and why? I like the idea of being closer to St. Augustine (our main reason for wanting to go to this area) but I admit I like the look/feel of the Cinnamon Beach condos better and the resort comes with some added amenities that the other resorts further north seem to lack.

thanks!
Tracy
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